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Minimum wage and other things we aren't entitled to
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WheelsOfConfusion



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PostPosted: Tue Aug 29, 2006 2:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

One of the many things that strikes me is this idea of what a job is worth. Is a janitor "worth" less than a spreadsheet filler? Why does one that involves hazardous/noxious/unsanitary conditions become a job worth less than a safer, more comfortable, physically less exerting position? Why are there ANY full or part-time jobs that pay below the poverty line in the first place?
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bun bun
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 29, 2006 3:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

corporations are legally obliged, BY LAW, to put their stockholders first. the stockholders can sue them if they do not.

if the stockholders can convince the court that the company is not looking after their interests, the company is forced to change and/or offer compensation.

(this only applies to corporations, by the way)
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andrew



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PostPosted: Tue Aug 29, 2006 3:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

bun bun wrote:
(this only applies to corporations, by the way)


Public corporations, in fact.
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Sam



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PostPosted: Tue Aug 29, 2006 9:30 am    Post subject: eminent domain Reply with quote

I try not to bother with contention about whether or not taxes or governmental regulation of markets are 'right' or 'wrong' or 'statist theft' or whatever. That dives face-first into pure axiomatics.

Instead, I look at systems, and how they work or don't work. A person can say that we are not entitled to X and I don't contend with this personal belief.

But this is usually coupled with the same person saying "the system works better without X."

This is empirically arguable and testable, and when you are talking the fringes of economic thought, it's usually pure horseshit.
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Agamemnon



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PostPosted: Tue Aug 29, 2006 5:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am against minimum wage. I'll throw that out first, to get it out of the way.

However, I am not for keeping people down below the poverty line. While the nice Myth/Fact quote Trusted Faith posted is informative, I feel it does leave a lot out. For instance, it doesn't take into account auxillary jobs some people have to make a bit extra money (like my wife did when we were trying to save up for a down payment on a house.) It doesn't take into account those who work minimum wage jobs as the second income in a family where they do so because they like what they are doing, not for the money (which is another anecdotal instance, I admit.) These are not meant to completely poo poo the Myth-Fact quote, only to show that the system is so complex that even these Myth-Fact summaries cannot paint a full and accurate picture. I don't think it's reasonable to expect minimum wage jobs to provide the primary income for people.

But, let's say for argument that the minimum wage is upped to something that allows people to make enough to rise above the poverty level. Has anyone considered the consequences of this? Would this make WalMart too expensive to shop at? What of the small businesses that rely on cheap labor? How are we now going to employ all those who lose their jobs as small business owners can no longer pay their employees and either run with fewer employees or close altogether? There are arguments that raising the minimum wage, especially if it rises a significant amount, will be detrimental as it forces the unemployment rates up and some businesses close (maybe even causing enough of an issue to cause WalMart to close stores.) There isn't an endless supply of money in the upper levels of these companies or in rich people's pockets, to pay for all of this. That being said, I would not argue that upper levels of most corporations have justified salaries.

I think that like so many politically charged arguments, this one requires not a debate on minimum wage, specifically, but one about how we go about bringing opportunities to the masses to move out of poverty. As a republican, I generally oppose more government anything. However, I do think we need to have social programs to help people out of these situations; ones that stress education rather than compensation or entitlements. I think we should encourage people to excel rather than punish those who have excelled.
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MsFrisby



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PostPosted: Tue Aug 29, 2006 5:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, Ag, I have to say that I've been pretty well educated. I know I'm only in that 5% with a college degree, and that I'm technically making about double minimum wage, but I'm only getting 20 hours a week, which makes me living, on a practical basis, at a full time minimum wage job with no benefits. If I take a second (truly minimum wage) job, then I lose what little help the government does provide for me without making up in dollars for the loss. No one I know wants to work harder for a lower quality of life. I do want to be working full-time. I do want to be paying my own way and raising my kids properly. I think most people do. I think VERY few people are satisfied with living off the state. Everyone wants to be living so that they just don't have to panic if their car breaks down or their child is sick for a week and they can't work because they have to take care of them.
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Agamemnon



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PostPosted: Tue Aug 29, 2006 5:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Absolutely, I understand what you are saying. I will fully recognize that we don't yet have an effective system.

I'm just afraid that if we focus on minimum wage hikes, we'll actually make the situation worse by forcing companies to let go workers to be able to pay for the increased wages.

I think there's a real solution available, just not in the area of minimum wage.
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Sam



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PostPosted: Tue Aug 29, 2006 5:32 pm    Post subject: news at eleven? Reply with quote

The really smart economists with huge brains who get published in mags like Foriegn Affairs and The Economist, when they talk about minimum wage, generally agree that minimum wage hikes are not dangerously disruptive to the economy: you get some eventual inflation hiccups, and a redistribution of corporate gross in some sectors to a more low-end spectrum, i.e., the strawberry pickers get more and the execs get maybe smaller bonus packages.

The caveat being that this does not seem to produce much of a measurable benefit to the people the minimum wage is trying to help: income goes up, but consumer price indexes glitch and more or less match the minimized benefit to the people deep in the fifth quintile of American wage-earners who even remotely benefit from such an act. One could argue that the token gesture isn't worth the hassle to everyone else.

A minimum wage is a wonderful ideal on paper: a nation must set the minimum worth of the labor of a human being; a threshold of reasonable, commercialized servitude for regulated business, etc etc. In practice, though, it earns major 'meh.' It just prevents very very very rare and eclectic potential for would-be ridiculous servitude. Or something. There are plenty of doom-and-gloom arguments both for and against minimum wage. Depending on who you talk to, it's either crassly damaging government interventionalism, or the glue holding the working poor's fragile economic worlds vaguely above water.
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Usagi Miyamoto



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PostPosted: Tue Aug 29, 2006 11:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

arrived
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Last edited by Usagi Miyamoto on Sat Jun 30, 2007 6:05 am; edited 1 time in total
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Yorick



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PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2006 1:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

this thread has gotten too durn woordy.
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nathan



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PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2006 3:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Agamemnon wrote:
As a republican, I generally oppose more government anything.


Um, you might want to speak up more at the meetings, because I'm not sure people got that memo.
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trustedfaith



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PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2006 5:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

At some point, the minimum wage has to be raised. It hasn't been raised in almost 10 years. The last time they raised it was 1997. So granted, I'm not saying we should keep raising it over and over again -- but at some point it will be raised.

Also, Ags, the quote I did for the Myth/Fact information wasn't meant to be a full packet of information. It was meant to be informative, yes, but it was not meant to encase everything and anything to do with minimum wage jobs. I suggest you go to the source if you want more information about them. Source: http://www.lowwagework.org/

Interestingly enough, Oprah Winfrey did a show based on the minimum wage jobs in this country and how they measured up to the cost of living nowadays. Which they don't come anywhere near the cost of living. They actually had done a documentary with two people who kept track of all their finances while working minimum wage jobs. This was to shed some light on the truth about minimum wage. It really is informative, even if you hate Oprah Winfrey. I recommend reading up on it.

You can find information about that here:

http://www2.oprah.com/tows/slide/200604/20060414/slide_20060414_284_101.jhtml

Edited for it being 2am and lack of sleep.
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Thy Brilliance



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PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2006 10:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yorick wrote:
By the by, I think the real problem here is that this person you spoke with is an engineer, and therefore likely highly-paid for his/her presumed skills and expertise and works 40 hours a week or so in a white-collar type position. So how does his experience as a Wal-Mart employee relate to that of the no-collar wage-slave subsisting on $5.15 an hour in a position that's probably classified as part-time to keep them from accessing those expensive-for-the-company benefits he's so proud of?


Whoa now, let's not make blatant assumptions here.
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Agamemnon



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PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2006 1:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

nathan wrote:
Agamemnon wrote:
As a republican, I generally oppose more government anything.


Um, you might want to speak up more at the meetings, because I'm not sure people got that memo.

Heh, tell me about it!
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Agamemnon



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PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2006 1:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

trustedfaith wrote:
At some point, the minimum wage has to be raised. It hasn't been raised in almost 10 years. The last time they raised it was 1997. So granted, I'm not saying we should keep raising it over and over again -- but at some point it will be raised.

Also, Ags, the quote I did for the Myth/Fact information wasn't meant to be a full packet of information. It was meant to be informative, yes, but it was not meant to encase everything and anything to do with minimum wage jobs. I suggest you go to the source if you want more information about them. Source: http://www.lowwagework.org/

Interestingly enough, Oprah Winfrey did a show based on the minimum wage jobs in this country and how they measured up to the cost of living nowadays. Which they don't come anywhere near the cost of living. They actually had done a documentary with two people who kept track of all their finances while working minimum wage jobs. This was to shed some light on the truth about minimum wage. It really is informative, even if you hate Oprah Winfrey. I recommend reading up on it.

You can find information about that here:

http://www2.oprah.com/tows/slide/200604/20060414/slide_20060414_284_101.jhtml

Edited for it being 2am and lack of sleep.


Good information. I don't want it to seem that I'm criticizing your info.

I just think that the focus is in the wrong place. We shouldn't ever, in my opinion, view minimum wage jobs as being the types of jobs people should be living off of. Rather than focusing on the minimum wage, why don't we focus on getting people better paying jobs?
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